History of The Rugby League Conference - History - 2010


2010 saw an expansion in the numbers of divisions with the Midlands, Wales and North West all forming new regional divisions. The North Midlands division formed the basis for the new Yorkshire regional division.

These new divisions saw many teams step up from the merit leagues: Coventry Bears A, Birmingham Bulldogs A, North East Worcestershire Ravens (formerly Redditch Ravens) and Leamington Royals either joined or rejoined from the Midlands Rugby League; Chester Gladiators, Crewe & Nantwich Steamers, Wigan Riversiders Eels, Mancunians RL, Victoria Rangers and Barnsley Broncos (formerly called Barnsley) stepped up from the RL Merit League and Hammersmith Hills Hoists, St Albans Centurions A, South London Storm A and Sussex Merlins moved up from the London League. The National Conference League failed to repeat its summer experiment leading three clubs: East Leeds, Milford Marlins and Shaw Cross Sharks to join the Rugby League Conference.

2010 also saw an expansion of the Merit Leagues as the rump RL Merit League split into the Yorkshire & Humber Merit League and the North West Merit League. A plan to form a North Wales League failed, but a five team 9s tournament was played.

Gateshead Storm and Newcastle Knights merged to form Newcastle Storm, Ipswich Rhinos and Colchester Romans merged to form Eastern Rhinos. Leicester Phoenix became Leicester Storm. Northampton Casuals became Northampton Demons.

This season had a much higher rate of teams dropping out or forfeiting games than usual with for example the North West Premier division losing three out of five initial teams and the Welsh Regional Division having four out of the original seven teams fail to play a game.

The inaugural Rugby League Conference Regional Championships took place at Derby's Haslams Lane ground, with six representative teams representing different English regions. The event was won by the Midlands.

Initial line-ups as follows (new clubs in italics):

  • National Division: Bramley Buffaloes, Carlisle Centurions, Dewsbury Celtic, Featherstone Lions, Hemel Stags, Huddersfield Underbank Rangers, Kippax Knights, Liverpool Buccaneers, Nottingham Outlaws, Warrington Wizards
  • North West Premier Division: Lymm RL, New Broughton Rangers, Runcorn RLC, Widnes Saints, Wigan Riversiders
  • Yorkshire Premier Division: East Leeds, Haworth Park, Milford Marlins, Moorends-Thorne Marauders, Rotherham Giants, Scarborough Pirates, York Lokomotive
  • Midlands Premier Division: Birmingham Bulldogs, Bristol Sonics, Coventry Bears, Derby City, Gloucestershire Warriors, Leicester Storm
  • Southern Premier Division: Eastern Rhinos, Hainault Bulldogs, Hammersmith Hillshoists, London Skolars 'A', Portsmouth Navy Seahawks, South London Storm, St Albans Centurions, West London Sharks,
  • Welsh Premier Division: Blackwood Bulldogs, Bridgend Blue Bulls, Cardiff Demons, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire & Ceredigion Bears, Newport Titans, Valley Cougars
  • Scottish Division: Ayrshire Storm, Carluke Tigers, Easterhouse Panthers, Edinburgh Eagles, Falkirk, Fife Lions, Jordanhill Phoenix, Kirkcaldy, Moray Eels
  • North East Division: Cramlington Rockets, Durham Demons, Jarrow Vikings, Newcastle Storm, Northallerton Stallions, Peterlee Pumas, Sunderland City, Wallsend Eagles, Whitley Bay Barbarians, Winlaton Warriors
  • North West Regional Division: Blackpool Sea Eagles, Chester Gladiators, Crewe & Nantwich Steamers, Mancunians, Wigan Riversiders Eels
  • Yorkshire Regional Division: Barnsley Broncos, Bradford Salem, Bradford Victoria Rangers, Leeds Akkies, Lincoln City Knights, Parkside Hawks, Scunthorpe Barbarians, Wetherby Bulldogs
  • Midlands Regional Division: Birmingham Bulldogs A, Coventry Bears A, Leamington Royals, North East Worcestershire Ravens, Nottingham Outlaws A, Telford Raiders
  • East Division: Bedford Tigers, Bury Titans, Northampton Demons, Norwich City Saxons, St Albans Centurions A, St Ives Roosters,
  • London & South Division: Elmbridge Eagles, Guildford Giants, Greenwich Admirals, Oxford Cavaliers, South London Storm A, Southampton Spitfires, Sussex Merlins, Swindon St George
  • South West Division: Devon Sharks, East Devon Eagles, Exeter Centurions, North Devon Raiders, Plymouth Titans, Somerset Vikings, South Dorset Giants, South Somerset Warriors
  • South Wales Championship: Amman Valley Rhinos, Dinefwr Sharks, Tydfil Wildcats Rugby League, Neath Port Talbot Steelers, Swansea-Llanelli Dragons, Torfaen Tigers, Wildboars

Carlisle Centurions withdrew from the National Division mid-season and their results were expunged, Liverpool Buccaneers withdrew from the National Division and their results stood.

Jordanhill Phoenix and Kirkcaldy failed to start the season in the Scottish division, Forth & Clyde Nomads were brought in as replacements.

Runcorn and Widnes Saints withdrew from the North West Premier Division pre-season to be replaced by Widnes West Bank and Wirral Warriors. New Broughton Rangers folded midseason in the North West Premier Division.

Haworth Park failed to complete the season in the Yorkshire Premier Division but their results stood. Bradford Salem withdrew from the Yorkshire Regional Division to be replaced by Shaw Cross Sharks. Wetherby Bulldogs and Scunthorpe Barbarians failed to complete the season in the Yorkshire Regional division but their results stood.

Derby City withdrew mid-season from the Midlands Premier but their results stood. North East Worcestershire Ravens failed to complete the season in the Midlands Regional division but the results stood.

Blackwood Bulldogs failed to complete the season in the Welsh Premier division. Amman Valley Rhinos, Dinefwr Sharks, Wildboars (St Clears) and Swansea-Llanelli Dragons were all excluded from the Welsh Regional division after not fulfilling any fixtures and replaced by Dyffryn Devils.

St Albans Centurions A withdrew from the East Regional division but their fixtures stood.

Read more about this topic:  History Of The Rugby League Conference, History

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